The Ravens’ locker room debate over who the biggest soccer fan is may have just been settled.
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley is traveling to Russia for a few days to watch the 2018 World Cup.
Stanley left [this is being published Friday] as soon as Ravens minicamp ended Thursday and will stay for four or five days. He’ll see at least two games: Germany vs. Mexico on Sunday and Belgium vs. Panama on Monday.
“I can’t wait,” Stanley said. “I’m a huge soccer fan. I always wanted to make it to a European soccer game and now I get to go to the World Cup. It’s pretty awesome.”
Stanley got the World Cup hookup through his agency, Roc Nation. He’s getting an all-expenses-paid trip to Russia to watch the games with their marketing director.
Roc Nation also represents Germany defender Jérôme Boateng (Bayern Munich), who has become a friend of Stanley’s, and recently signed Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United). Stanley’s personally rooting for Germany.
“I like Germany; I think they’re going to do well,” Stanley said. “I have a friend on Germany, so I’m kind of biased toward them. I think Brazil looks really nice as well.”
Stanley has been to Major League Soccer games before, but never to one outside of the United States. He said he’s a tad nervous about going to Russia, but he’s putting that aside.
“I think the atmosphere’s going to be crazy,” Stanley said. “Sort of like a football game, but even crazier.”
The Ravens have a bunch of big soccer fans on the team, including offensive lineman and England native Jermaine Eluemunor and wide receiver Chris Moore. Moore said he’s rooting for France.
“They’re always good. I like France, personally,” Moore said. “I’ve been rooting for them for probably the last 10 years.”
It will be much easier for Ravens players to go to the World Cup in eight years, as the big news Wednesday morning was that North America won the bid for World Cup 2026. The United States will co-host with Canada and Mexico.
Baltimore is one of the 23 finalists to be among the 16 host cities, with 10 coming from the United States. The finalists also include neighboring Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Fingers crossed!
Stanley will take over the Ravens’ Snapchat account while in Russia, so make sure you tune in!